Here are a few of the arguments often put forward for SSM – and their answers. Also examples of sloppy thinking to avoid. Debate on SSM ought to follow the rules of logic and common sense. If it doesn’t, find out why.
The argument: “If a man and women can marry, homosexuals should be given the same right. They should have equality.”
The answer: As discussed – children are also entitled to equality. Marriage was instituted for their procreation, nurture and protection. The right of children to be raised by their biological mother and father has precedence over the rights of adults. Many children raised by homosexual parents have longed for the same family structure enjoyed by their friends. It should not be denied them, and their need has priority over adults’ wants. Homosexuals need to be satisfied with some kind of civil union to acknowledge their commitment.
2. Love is love
The argument: “If you love someone you should be able to marry them. It shouldn’t matter who you love… As long as you are a decent person, you’re understanding and you abide by the laws.”
The answer: Loving someone is not always a valid or automatic prerequisite for marriage. Extraordinary as it may seem, sometimes siblings – separated at birth and re-united in adulthood – fall in love and demand the right to marry. This is common enough to be given a name: GSA – genetic sexual attraction. The request is usually denied because of:
- moral reasons (stemming from our Judeo-Christian heritage), and
- the risk of genetic problems for offspring.
Those two reasons (moral and harmful consequences) also apply to SSM. For the 52% identifying with Christianity there are moral objections to SSM. And, for everyone else, there are harmful consequences of SSM – children deprived of biological mum and dad, violation of freedom of speech/religion etc.
3. Bigots and homophobes
(Definitions: a bigot is a person who is intolerant towards those holding different opinions. A Homophobe is a person with an extreme and irrational aversion to homosexuality and homosexual people.)
The argument: “All people opposed to same sex marriage are bigots and homophobes.”
The answer: This is a judgmental assumption without rational or informed basis. It is often used to intimidate and bully people into submission with the fear of being labelled “bigot” or “homophobe”.
It may be true that some opponents of SSM are bigoted or homophobic. But all people is obviously an assumption without basis. Most people opposed to SSM provide considered arguments, without bigotry or homophobia. Those unhappy with such opponents should respond with rational deliberation, not derogatory labels.
Remember the term “homophobe” is in such common use it has even been applied to homosexuals who oppose SSM. One of them said “Now I’m being accused of being homophobic because I’m against the redefinition of marriage. Yeah, I’m homophobic. I scream when I pass the mirror!” (SFAC P50)
It is an indictment on opposition leader Bill Shorten and Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews that they use the term “bigot” against people opposed to SSM.
When you hear these expressions look for ignorance, cover up of the facts, intimidation or, ironically, even bigotry.
4. Ad hominem arguments
These are arguments based on feelings or prejudice, rather than facts, reason or logic – often an attack on the person’s character rather than an attempt to address the issue at hand.
Mary: “John says marriage is intended for protection and nurture of children who should be raised by biological parents. So he says we should oppose SSM.”
Peter: “John’s been bankrupt and was divorced recently. And he is so nasty to me. You can’t believe anything he says.”
This attack on John’s character in no way addresses the argument put forward. It is of no value.
5. Straw man argument
When you are accused of a distorted view of what you believe.
Martin: “Christians should speak out about the harmful consequences of SSM – for example children deprived of their biological parents and a mum or dad.”
Wendy: “I can’t believe you would say Christians should force their religion on others.”
The original statement says nothing about forcing religion on others. It addresses the issue people should speak out on children’s right to biological parents. The response has not addressed that issue.
Once again: Debate on SSM ought to follow the rules of logic and common sense. If it doesn’t, find out why.